FNJ cannot remain a mere spectator to agonies of journalists

  • -Pabitra Guragain

kathmandu, june 16 :   Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ) central chair Bipul Pokhrel has said the FNJ incumbent leadership cannot just be a mere spectator to woes of journalists during the COVID-19 crisis and in the future as well.

In his address to a virtual discussion programme organised by the FNJ with the representatives of all 40 FNJ institutional chapters here today , the FNJ chair declared that the present FNJ leadership will not stand to be a witness to the exploitation of labour, pay and job cuts, and other kinds of unjust treatment against media workers in normal times and during the COVID-19 pandemic. “It is professionally, institutionally and morally bound to swing into action against such unjust media atmosphere.

Journalists at the frontline to deliver fact-based news bracing all odds at this hour of crisis deserve proper recognition,’’ he asserted. Calling upon all bodies concerned to create a just working environment for journalists and media workers, he demanded that the government recognize journalists as front liners and provide anti-COVID-19 vaccine to those who could not benefit from the first round of vaccination due to several reasons. “The FNJ is concerned about professional as well as physical security of journalists,” he said. Similarly, taking part in the event, FNJ Vice chair Ramesh Bista said personal health safety and proper recognition of work were two prominent issues journalists were facing amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. “Ensuring right to labour is one of the pressing issues in Nepali media sector at the moment,” he said, adding the FNJ has scheduled a media monitoring within a couple of days to find out the present scenario about it. “Media entrepreneurs violating the rights of journalists cannot walk with their heads high,” he argued, promising to challenge all kinds of unfair treatments against journalists institutionally as well as legally.

He further warned that the FNJ was determined to reveal the real face of those media houses treating their staffs unfairly with the next 15 days. During the discussion, representatives of FNJ institutional bodies briefed the FNJ Province and Central leadership post-COVID situation in their respective media and other pressing issues. During the sharing, it was found that some reputed, long-established and big media houses are highly apathetic towards the rights of working journalists while some media were found to be more or less sensitive to the causes of their staffs in the COVID-19 crisis. Forced leave, unpaid leave, transfer without prior knowledge, pay cuts, under-payment, non-payment (up to eight months), delayed payment, no access to social security scheme, lack of accreditation of Department of Information and Broadcasting were identified as prominent issues of journalists at present. Majority of participants also complained of being deprived of capacity enhancement opportunities despite their long association with the organisation while some said they were forced to work without appointment letters for long. — (rss)